NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister and economist Manmohan Singh has slammed the government over freezing of dearness allowance. He said that the move was not necessary at this stage to impose hardships on government servants and armed forces personnel.
"We should be on the side of people whose dearness allowance is being cut. I sincerely believe it is not necessary at this stage to impose hardships on government servants and also on the armed forces people," Singh said.
Singh attended the Congress' consultative group meeting whose video was released by the party on Saturday. The Party had last week had constituted a consultative group with Singh as its chairman to deliberate on "current concerns" and formulate views and policy of the party on important issues.
On Thursday, the finance ministry halted the hike in dearness allowance of four per cent for for 50 lakh central government employees and 61 lakh pensioners till June 2021 due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, DA and dearness relief (DR) at current rates will continue to be paid.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also criticised the move.
"You are taking away money from the middle class, you are not giving money to the poor people and you are spending it on your central vista," Gandhi told the meeting.
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said that the Central government's other projects must be kept on hold.
"When you (government) have not cut back expenditure on the bullet train, central vista development, those are the programmes which should be first put on halt before you halt people's dearness allowance."
The Centre last month approved the land use change for execution of its ambitious central vista redevelopment project in Lutyen's Delhi with the issuance of a notification by the Union housing and urban affairs ministry.
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista -- the nation's power corridor -- envisages a triangular Parliament building next to the existing one, common Central Secretariat and revamping of the 3-km-long Rajpath, from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
Besides them, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, Manish Tewari, party general secretary KC Venugopal, former union minister Jairam Ramesh, Praveen Chakravarty, Gaurav Vallabh, Supriya Shrinate, and the party's social media head Rohan Gupta are also part of the panel.
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